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Matthew Real, U.S. U18s win tournament in Czech Republic

United States U18s finish Vaclav Jezek Tournament 4-0-0

Matthew Real
Matt Ralph

Philadelphia Union Academy defender Matthew Real and the United States U18 team topped host Czech Republic 4-2 to capture the 2016 Vaclav Jezek Tournament title on Saturday morning.

Real didn’t start the match, but started at left back in on Friday in a 5-3 win over Russia that sent the U.S. through to the final. He also started in the second match of the tournament on Wednesday, a 3-1 win over Hungary.

The U.S. finished the tournament with a 4-0-0 record - their other win came over Slovakia - and outscored opponents 15-9.

Their win on Saturday morning was of the comeback variety.

The hosts took the lead in the 7th minute and it wasn’t until the 39th minute that a rocket off the left foot of FC Dallas Academy midfielder Paxton Pomykal from 25 yards out made things level.

Tied 1-1 going into the break, it was Pomykal who helped the U.S. find the back of the net in the 62nd minute when he picked off a pass inside the center circle and set up Nick Taitague in the box after a charging run forward. Taitague was taken down in the box and needed two cracks at the goal to put the U.S. ahead, knocking home the rebound off the initial penalty kick save.

After a 76th minute equalizer for the hosts, DC United Academy midfielder Jose Carranza got to the end line on an overlapping run and passed a ball back through traffic that somehow found substitute Nebiyou Perry just inside the top of the 18 for him to deliver the eventual game winner in the 80th minute. Perry, who came on right after the the Czech Republic equalizer, set up the play with a run forward.

The New York native who is on the books with Swedish club AIK Futbol added a second goal in stoppage time to seal the win for the U.S.

The title for the U.S. was the second in three years at the Czech Republic tournament.

Union Academy alums Sean Wilson, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina, and Maryland sophomore forward Sebastian Elney were on the U.S. U18 team that won the tournament in 2014.